Canyon’s dual motor velomobile adds automotive appeal to e-Bike design

Last week in London Canyon teased to press a new dual motor velomobile concept that it says is designed to tempt the masses away from the car and into something more functional for the urban environment.

At the present time it is just a concept, though, if well received, one that could be in the pipeline for release anywhere between two to five years from now. The concept will be be seeded around Europe in a bid to gauge whether the at large market is ready.

“This isn’t a city e-Bike just for cyclists, but for non-cyclists, that’s a change in direction,” starts Canyon’s UK Marketing Manager, Jack Noy, further indicating that if production goes ahead, the brand would want to become the “Apple” of the micromobility segment.

VelomobileThis, it’s said, would mean that Canyon wouldn’t initially seek to turn a huge profit on the roll out of its velomobile, in fact a target price would likely fall at the upper end of an electric cargo bike budget, but at the lower end of an entry level car’s budget.

“It has to be viable and good value to manufacture, but it won’t get traction if it’s the same price as existing vehicles that can do much the same thing. You need to be the iPhone – get people running with you and make it popular,” says Noy, suggesting Canyon have weighed up a cost of between just €5,000 to €7,000.

Canyon’s concept is, however, not more of the same; the concept actually deploys a dual motor system that is both car and e-Bike all in one. For that reason, some legislative wrangling may have to take place before progress is realistic.

Seated at the rear of the chassis will be two 1,000Wh motors offering a combined 150km range. Between the pair, one will power the vehicle up to 60km/h, which places it firmly in the automotive segment. The intention is that on outer city roads the vehicle will be able to chip along at a reasonable pace alongside other traffic, covering longer distances.

Flip a switch and the velomobile changes its tune, with the alternate motor adhering to the e-Bike legislation for the given region. That, says Canyon, means that the vehicle can hit inner city traffic and shift over to the cycle lane. The design will align with L7E and Lle-A legislation, the very same governing Renault’s Twizzy and pedelecs.

velomobile canyonIt’ll not be an intimidating sight for cyclists either, the wheelbase is no larger than a cargo bike. The dimensions measure 830mm x 1,011 x 2,300mm, which surprisingly is enough space for a two-seater inner; Canyon’s prototype has two seats on sliding rails that push back and forth, thus unlocking the potential of the velomobile for the school run and shopping.

At around 95kg, the carbon reinforced plastic shell settles one of the greatest obstacles to cycle use, particularly in the UK, placing a convertible style roof over the rider and one that offers high visibility all round. A grill in the front will allow airflow through the chassis on the move, preventing the windscreen steaming or rider overheating.

“At Canyon there’s people that want to build amazing looking bikes. If you have an amazing idea, human nature may still reject it if visually it’s not right. Therefore there’s a hint of automotive flair about the design and that’s intentional. We think this will be accepted by the public. It’s sleek and aerodynamic, as you’d expect from a modern car design,” says Noy.

The controls will centre around a tank steering system outside of the rider’s knees, with brake levers attached to those. The brakes will of course be rated suitably for the enhanced power output.

“The Coronavirus has been a catalyst for pushing project through. We saw the number of people getting off trains, buses and cars and cities emptying of congestion. That gave a glimpse of what could be if those people chose an alternative form. The velomobile concept drawing has been on the design pad for two years, but this felt like the time and we think people are ready for it,” concludes Noy.

Alongside the curtain lift of the velomobile, Canyon also announced a handful of new commuter bikes under the Commuter: ON and Precede: ON banners.

The Commuter: ON is Canyon’s entry-level mobility bike, weighing 17kg with a 55Nm, 300 watt motor. The bike features thick tyres covered by sturdy fenders that blend into the frame’s design. Fazua’s Evation systems is tweaked to deliver torque quicker to help people lug goods and be quick off the lights. The build will be offered in a step through or standard frame with a single Shimano XT spec, both set at £3,099.

The Precede: ON will weigh in at £4,699 for an Enviolo spec and already comes gonged in the German Design Awards for 2021. TRP custom brakes are integrated in to a custom handlebar. Meanwhile, a carbon chassis enables the Canyon aesthetic to flow, while stiffness is guaranteed even with a step through frame design.